January 25th

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Author: Eileen Hunt Botting

 

  1. How would you describe the shift in tone between the Original Stories and the Vindication of the Rights of Men?
  2. How do you think that Wollstonecraft’s life in London as a professional writer and translator perhaps contributed to this shift?
  3. Do you agree with Wollstonecraft’s decision to initially hide her new life in London from her family?
  4. How radical was Joseph Johnson and his circle of friends?  Who was in the circle?
  5. What is the story behind the composition of the Vindication of the Rights of Men?
  6. How does this text exemplify Wollstonecraft’s desire to become “the first of a new genus” of woman?
  7. What is Wollstonecraft’s attitude toward Burke in the Vindication of the Rights of Men?
  8. How does Wollstonecraft manipulate gender roles and gendered literary techniques in her critical engagement of Burke?
  9. What is Wollstonecraft’s conception of the social contract, vis a vis Burke’s?
  10. What is Wollstonecraft’s view of private and hereditary property, and how does it contrast with Burke’s?
  11. How does Wollstonecraft critique Burke’s defense of tradition, custom, and prejudice?
  12. What is Wollstonecraft’s conception of rights and how does it depart from Burke’s?
  13. What is the role of theology and religion in the political theory of the Vindication of the Rights of Men?  How does it contrast with the treatment of religion in the Reflections on the Revolution in France?
  14. How does Wollstonecraft introduce the discussion of gender and family life into her critique of Burke’s Reflections?  How do gender and family fit into her own substantive political theory as expressed in the Vindication of the Rights of Men?
  15. What is the dynamic between ‘reason’ and ‘feeling’ in the Vindication of the Rights of Men?
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